The Design Science Research (DSR) paradigm has its roots in the sciences and engineering of the artificial. It is fundamentally a problem-solving paradigm. DSR seeks to enhance human knowledge with the creation of innovative artifacts. These artifacts embody the ideas, practices, technical capabilities, and products through which information and computing technology and systems (abbreviated here as the field of Information Systems (IS)) can be efficiently developed and effectively used. Artifacts are not exempt from natural laws or behavioral theories. To the contrary, their creation relies on existing laws and theories that are applied, tested, modified, and extended through the experience, creativity, intuition, and problem solving capabilities of the researcher. Thus, the results of DSR include both the newly designed artifact and a fuller understanding of the theories of why the artifact is an improvement to the relevant application context. Design activities are central to most applied disciplines. Research in design has a long history in many fields including architecture, engineering, education, psychology, anthropology, and the fine arts. The IS field since its advent in the late 1940’s has appropriated many of the ideas, concepts, and methods of DSR that have originated in these other disciplines. However, IS as composed of inherently mutable and adaptable hardware, software, and human interfaces provide many unique and challenging design problems that call for new and creative research methods. The community of DSR scholars in the IS field has grown significantly over the past 30 years. Publication opportunities have expanded in the top IS journals and the top IS conferences feature tracks devoted to DSR scholarship. In particular, the annual Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST) conference is devoted to presentation of the best DSR papers from the international IS community.
Learning OutcomesThe design science research (DSR) paradigm is highly relevant to IS research because it directly addresses two of the key issues of the discipline: the central role of the IS artifact and the importance of professional relevance of IS research. DSR follows a pragmatic research paradigm that calls for the creation of innovative artifacts to solve real-world problems and to address promising opportunities. DSR in IS involves the construction of a wide range of socio-technical artifacts such as decision support systems, modelling tools, governance strategies, methods for software systems development and evaluation, and system change interventions. Thus, DSR in IS combines a focus on the designed artifact with a high priority on relevance in the application domain. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the basic concepts and principles of design science research applied to the IS field. The course develops skills for implementing and evaluating the techniques and methods that are used in the various phases of DSR. Research methods and techniques used in the various phases of such research will be discussed in the context of exemplars. Common methods that are used in both the important phases of design research, namely, building and evaluation, will be covered. Managing design projects for commercial clients and their issues are also discussed. The exemplars will be from a number of information systems areas such as software engineering, networking, Internet technologies, information security, medical IS and telemedicine, database, e-commerce, wireless information systems and others. The key to appreciating the core ideas and goals of DSR is a clear understanding of how DSR relates to human knowledge. The appropriate and effective consumption and production of knowledge are related issues that researchers should consider throughout the research process – from initial problem selection, to the use of sound research methods, to reflection, and to communication of research results in journal, magazine, and conference articles. Each of the course units includes a list of learning objectives that give the student the understanding and the skills to perform rigorous and relevant DSR in selected application areas.